Welcome friends...thanks for coming by. We're seeking beauty in all of creation... in our faith and our families; our art and our music; our crafts and kitchens, and even in our own backyard. We'll share a poem or a recipe, a picture or a memory; maybe a dream of how we wish our life could be. And though we acknowledge that the world can be harsh, we're keeping it pleasant in our little corner; endeavoring to keep the words from the Book of all Books: ...Whatsoever things are lovely; think on these things.

I so enjoy hearing from you...so leave me a comment; it'll make my day!

Photo: Bee and thistle: Taken high in the Cascade Mountains where there is a bee buzzing on every thistle. by Debora Rorvig

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Re-frame. If That Doesn't Work, Distract!

Oh my goodness, she's back at her blog!  That's what I IMAGINE my readers are saying when this post comes up on their blogroll. Again, I IMAGINE that I actually am on your blogroll and if I am, that you are actually bothering to read past word one. Because I abandoned you. Ran off with the paper boy! Which I most certainly did not because we do not take the paper here in our house and if we did, the paper boy would be more than a half-century younger than me and besides the fact that he would be horrified at the very thought of running away with Grandma, well it would be just so not right! Okay. Truth. I left you for a novel. A half-written novel about a priest and a girl and his best friend. And his grandma. Grandma is my heroine. So that's where I've been.

But it's that last day of the year. The last chapter in the book of 2014 and want need to write about something other than my young priest and his grandma. I want to tell you about my New Year's Resolution.  Wait! I know most folks turn their noses up at resolutions. They say, "It just set's me up for failure." They get haughty and say, "I PREFER to live in the moment."  Which to my way of thinking is a lot like me saying, "No, I don't want to play volleyball with you. I'd rather play scrabble." Which is my way of saying, "I suck at sports and I don't want do them because I get humiliated when I try to hit the ball and wind up on my rear with my left leg  sprawled over my right shoulder and a big fat bruise on my tush. And worse than that; you will laugh at me and I HATE being laughed at because though I intellectually understand that everybody falls down and it's no big deal; emotionally I really think that I am the worst klutz on the planet and that EVERYBODY else is more agile than me. So leave me alone with my scrabble game...OKAY?"
We all have ways of protecting ourselves, don't we? Just humor me here and continue reading. You don't have to make a resolution OR play volleyball. Promise.
So my resolution. I didn't make it up. It came to me. The same way that the priest and the girl came to me. Writers call that their muse. Christians call it the Holy Spirit. I just know that this idea was foisted upon me from another person and place. My intuition calls him God. Sometimes He talks directly to me. Often He uses people. Like Doctor Patterson.
 "You need to get neurotic about stretching!" said the good doctor on my last visit when I asked him to exorcise a demon called plantar fasciitis from my foot and whined about my aching hips. And shoulders. And neck. Maybe I'm being a bit touchy here, but  I'm convinced he used the word 'neurotic' on purpose. He must think I'm a bundle of neuroses. Just because I perseverate about every little ache, about people making fun of me when I play volleyball, about what I may have said to offend the grocery clerk to make her viciously slam my apples on the counter-bruising them beyond recognition, about my relationship with my mother (she's deceased), about whether the dog will get sick and die from eating fake plants and should I even have fake plants because of this; even though real ones make me sneeze...so am I preferring the dog to myself...and is this emotionally healthy??? Or maybe I'm preferring myself to the dog by having fake plants to keep me from sneezing. I don't know. It's all so confusing. 
The inside of my brain has more twists and turns than a Six Flags amusement park.
So I take his advise. Order some books because that's what I do when I'm about to embark on a new neurosis. "Flexibility Over Fifty, " and  "Age Defying Fitness." I read them cover to cover then began. I was in the middle of the inner thigh stretch; straddling a folding chair in a very unlady-like position when God spoke to me. This time directly.
"Make flexibility your New Year's Resolution." He said. 
"I AM. I ALREADY HAVE!" I answer, making sure my knees and toes are out to the side at a precisely 45-degree angle and gently pushing the cellulite on my inner thigh--which pushes back not-so-gently.
"Physically AND Emotionally," was the response.
"Oh. What would that entail?" I wonder.
So I Googled emotional flexibility and read a bunch of clinical studies that are probably less interesting than this blog...were it possible. But two words stood out in the studies. Like a Budweiser neon sign to an alcoholic. RE-FRAME. Apparently that's what  emotionally healthy people do when faced with minor stressors. And DISTRACT. That's what they do with the big ones. Distract themselves. Because they can't do anything else.
Wow! So people actually do that and it's not considered self-delusion and denial? Who knew?
So I'm trying it. Yesterday I took the stretching thing a bit too far. Physically speaking. My overdone neck stretches left me stuck--kinda like when you get the jelly-jar  lid off-kilter and now you can't unscrew it or turn it in either direction. So I spent the morning lying in the bathtub with Epsom Salts and popping as many Advil as allowable by state law. (Which the OLD me might perseverate about--wondering if I'm giving myself Advil-induced-bleeding ulcers.) But NOT THIS TIME! I CAN RE-FRAME. AND IF THAT DOESN'T WORK I CAN DISTRACT!  So I told myself that the pain was temporary and would be better tomorrow. I played my favorite Pandora station and put votive candles all around the tub while I soaked. (the battery operated kind, because the real ones make me stuffy.) I only worried for a moment about the possibility of the dog knocking the candles into the tub, and reasoned that battery operated candles wouldn't actually electrocute me like 110 volts would...would they? Naw! "Distract yourself from that thought! I told myself. "Read a book while you soak. A pleasant book..."
Today my neck is much better. I was able to look both ways when I crossed the street to get the mail. I think I may be onto something here. Be Flexible. Re-frame. Distract. My new mantra for 2015. Who knows? Maybe I'll get flexible enough to play volleyball!
Whoa there! Baby steps. First the neck. Then the hips. Then maybe I'll think about volleyball. Or maybe I'll just distract myself with Scrabble while others play...
Happy New Year!  Whether you resolve to or not; may 2015 be very best chapter of your life so far!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Aletha, the Cherry Tomato


By Debora Rorvig

In June I bought a tomato plant to sit out on my patio

for fifteen-dollars and ninety-five.

A tall sturdy sort with a fine thick stock and twelve little green tomatoes

dangling from her branches.

The clerk said “she’s a corker!”

As it turns out, my plus-size girl

doesn’t like my patio.

She screams for water twice-a-day;

 pouts if she doesn’t get it.

Why she’s even threaten hari-kari more than once!

And still, just twelve little tomatoes cling to her leafy frame…

no more.

I think she’s into family-planning

or something of the sort.

In late July an unexpected visitor popped into my herb garden for a cup of chamomile tea with mint

and some spicy conversation with the chives,

Petite little thing she was; really just a sprout.

Mother used to call her kind ‘volunteers’;

a name I’m not so fond of

as though tomato plants and stalks of corn would step forward and sign

their names on the dotted line to join

some well-ordered regiment of vegetables…

Well maybe a cornstalk would do that; what with their love for standing straight

in even rows…but not this little tomato plant.

(Albeit when I think of it,

perhaps all vegetables should unite and fight

just to save their skins

from monsters like Monsanto;

who…well I’ll save this subject for

another soapbox and time.)

So I called her Aletha instead.

Aletha was a preemie…as tomato plants go;

but I gave her bit of mulch and tended her with the same love

(I’m lying now…MORE love than my pouty patio-girl!)

Well it turns out Aletha comes

from a long line of hardy cherry-tomato forbearers

who thrive in poor soil and given the chance

will shoot up toward the sun.

Now when she and I stand back- to –back

 to see who’s grown the tallest,

Aletha wins hands down--

 even if I stand on tippy-toes in my plastic garden clogs.

She towers over me and patio-girl

and boasts of lots of baby cherry-tomatoes

(I think she’s Catholic, or maybe Mormon;

Whatever…her family size suits me just fine.

Who am I to judge a tomato by her religion,

or lack thereof?

And so the lessons here, I think

are many.

I’ll spare you all my platitudes.

But suffice to say;

you can just never tell

about tomatoes…


And that goes for people too!




Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Buckets of Sand

Last week was my 40th class reunion. I've never gone to a class reunion before for a few choice reasons.

A. I quit school in eleventh grade, got pregnant and married, then went and got my GED. Maybe not the most well-planned scheme I ever hatched; but in the end it worked out. I had a beautiful son and later, two more children and went on to college later in life.

B. I transferred to a new school in seventh grade where I didn't know anyone. I was shy and nerdy so it was hard to make friends. There were some 'popular' girls who made my life hell for a year. By high school I had my own circle of friends but I still hated those girls for the humiliation they put me through. And though I had a handful of friends, I really didn't know most of my graduating class.

So when hubby pointed out to me that this was the big '40' and urged me to go...I was pretty ambivalent about it all. (He, on the other hand, was one year behind me in high school and was friends with EVERYBODY...so he was looking forward to it.)

Finally, I decided to go. I've been taking some personal risks these days; working to get out of my comfort zone; so this event would push my boundaries. Boy, would it ever! Would they even let me in, having left in my junior year? Would those mean girls be there...and would they be mean women now? What if absolutely nobody knew me?

So we went. They did let me in. A few people knew me. Everybody knew hubby. The mean girls didn't come. (A few days earlier I googled them and read--with some unrighteous satisfaction--that one of them has been bankrupt, lost everything and convicted of shoplifting twice just this year. Don't feel too sorry for her. She was shoplifting all through high school; along with her siblings AND parents!) Anyway, it went fine. Everybody was all grown up now; turning grey and bald and flabby...and nice!

But all this ugly emotional 'stuff' surfaced as I went through this process. I thought I'd forgiven all of my enemies and even myself for the dumb things I did back then...but oh my, what angst I was feeling about it all.

So this morning I sat down with my Bible and purposed to do some serious forgiving. The mean girls...myself...my parents for making me move to a new school when it was so hard...just everybody; you know?

As I began praying and naming the offenders and forgiving them...in my mind's eye I could see myself on a wet sandy beach with several buckets hooked over my arm. They were full of heavy, wet, mucky sand. I could barely walk they were so heavy. So I decided to dump one of them out onto the beach. The waves came and whisked the pile of sand away. My walk became a little easier. So I dumped another. And another. By now I'm sure you've guessed that the buckets of sand were offenses that I've been packing around.

You know, there are so many imperfect people walking around on this planet (me included) that offenses and hurts are going to be as numerous as the grains of sand by the ocean. But if we insist on lugging those buckets-full of  hurts all our life; our walk on the beach, which could be wonderful and peaceful and serene and lovely; well, it'll just be drudgery.

Better to walk without heavy buckets of sludge. Put your toes in the surf. Maybe skip over the waves. Fly a kite and look at the sky.

So for now I've abandoned my buckets and am walking free. Knowing myself as I do, I know I'll be tempted to get out my shovel and dig up some emotional sand before this journey is over. But even if I do; I hope I remember this lesson I learned today. Life's just too short and the walk too lovely to be weighed down like that.

Will I go to my 50th reunion? Not likely. But not because I'm scared of mean girls. I just have other beaches to explore.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Looking back: a peek into my journal 7/25/05

An excerpt from my journal dated July 25, 2005. I've come a long way in my journey; having resolved most of this 'stuff'. But it's good now and then to look down from the mountain at some of the terrain you've covered. Maybe this will speak to other women facing the same thoughts...

"I've been contemplating the verse that says 'let your light so shine among men...'. The passages starts by saying that YOU are the light of the world. Then it counsels us not to hide our light. And I realize that I have been hiding my light. Because it's different. How do I hide it? Under social norms, false humility, and compromise.

So I'm trying to dig my light out of the closet, dust it off, plug it in, and see what we have.

Here, I think, are some facets of my light...

  • Sensitivity to Spirit
  • Intelligence
  • Reflection
  • Appreciation for aesthetics
  • A soft heart for children
  • Feminine strength
  • Resolve and resourcefulness

Some of these things I've hidden so well that I don't fully understand them. I've tried so hard to fit the norm of "Christian" femininity that I have lost my sense of true femininity. (Not to mention trying to fit commercial standards.) What I mean is that I've been taught to think that a woman should be sweet and small (both externally and in my heart), unassuming, pretty, sexually attractive and yet not overt.

 But what does this have to do with ME? Could I not be kind--but not sweet? Large of heart, mind, and body? Dramatic--not pretty? Aware of my own sexual needs and desires rather than focusing on how to be attractive to another? Truly smart--not just a know-it-all?

Perhaps this is part of MY light. Not selfish or self-serving; but self-possessed and aware. Maybe it's time to stop apologizing for being too smart, too sensitive, too sensual, too ME...and begin to explore what this all means... "




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